We drove from Rhode Island to Pennsylvania on our first day. We went to Sesame Place on Day 2 of our adventure and would like to share some tips that we benefited from.
I don’t know how popular Sesame Place is to the rest of the United States, but it is a wonderful park for the kids. It is part of the Anheuser Busch Family (Sea World, Busch Gardens). This is important to know because Anheuser has a program called Here’s to the Heroes. It gives military families 4 free tickets for entrance into the park (per year). This is a wonderful discount because tickets to Sesame cost $55. However, we did not use this discount. Later along the trip we plan to stop into Sea World. We checked the internet and Sea World tickets cost $75 and $69 through MWR so we figured we would save the free tickets for Sea World and end up saving more money.
Sesame Place has a deal where you can buy one day for $55 and the second day is free. Another reason not to use the Here’s to the Heroes program. A good tip, if you bring in a Pepsi can you get $5 off a ticket. So we stopped by the local convenience store/deli, WaWa (I LOVE this place, by the way) and picked up a box of Pepsi for about $5. We tossed in 4 cans into our backpack and gave them to the ticket counter.
Sesame is probably best enjoyed in the summer because they have some great water rides. There are plenty of rides for all ages. Our favorites are the Sky Splash, the whole family gets into a raft and goes down a water slide; Slimey’s Chute, a water slide where you go down in single or double person rafts; and the Grover Vapor Trail, a fun roller coaster.
My boys also thoroughly enjoy the ropes. It’s a huge jungle gym of ropes fully netted all around. Now, parents, I warn you this might not be your favorite. In fact, it’s probably a safe bet. My husband went two years ago with my oldest (at the time he had just turned 4) and hung out with my youngest (he was 2) in a kiddie area with stuffed bolsters and gym mats. My husband said it hurt his knees. I was lucky to be able to experience it this time (notice slight sarcasm). There were other parents on the ropes we were all give each other the look that said, “the things we do for our kids.” But, it was fun and my youngest totally got his OT and PT workout for the day.
I also recommend watching the parade. People start claiming their seats about 30 minutes prior. What we do is sit in the Main Street of Sesame. There is a fire truck that the kids can play on while you sit on the curb. The trick seems to be to lay out a towel or park your stroller to “save” your spot on the curb. We had neither this time. I sat with my youngest and waited, while my husband and older son finished lunch. My youngest was so exhausted by this time (1:30pm). We were pulling a no nap day, so I think he secretly enjoyed the quiet rest. The parade is great because all of the favorite characters participate and walk up and down the parade path give the kids “high 5s”. We saw Big Bird, The Count, Bert & Ernie, Oscar, Grover, Telly, Abby, and of course Elmo.
Another tip, if you are looking to get photos with the characters. There is a photo booth where you can purchase pictures taken through out the day. It is in the main entrance area. Go there and ask them what time the particular character is going to be out. We were walking and happened to see Cookie Monster. We stood in line for 5 minutes to see him and then they gave us a wrist ban with the photo info on it. I asked my younger son who else he wanted to see. His answer? “ELMO!”. Since Elmo is so popular, they have a tent sent up where he is always available. It’s located behind the nets. There was no line when we went. There is usually another character in there too. When we went it was Big Bird. We also caught up with Oscar and Grover in the main entrance area.
I also want to share with you our experience with our hotel. We stayed at the Sheraton. It is right across the street from the park. They have a shuttle service which is great because parking would be between $20-$30 without the shuttle and it drops you off at the front gates. We were initially quote $199 per night! Yikes. However, we were able to get a military rate. For a basic room it was $95 and for a deluxe room it was $115. The deluxe was a King bed with a pull out couch. This is what we did and both boys slept on the pull out. Now, another issue we encountered this year was they told us there was a minimum of 3 nights, however, we only wanted 2. We figured two nights at $199 was still more than three nights at $115, so we booked for three. HOWEVER, after the second night, we canceled our third night with no penalty what so ever and only paid for two nights.
Have any of you been to Sesame Place? What other tips have you found to be useful?